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BOTOX vs. Facelift

BOTOX vs. Facelift

There are several treatment options for reducing the appearance of wrinkles, but BOTOX® and a facelift are the most effective solutions. Though the two procedures address wrinkles, there are some differences to consider when choosing the right option for your needs.


BOTOX® is the original formulation of botulinum toxin A. Its unique protein composition relaxes facial muscles to give patients a more youthful appearance. BOTOX® is used to smooth frown lines and wrinkles between the eyebrows and on the forehead as well as crow’s feet. This injectable treatment also effectively relaxes lines on the lips and around the mouth.

BOTOX® is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that only takes 15 minutes and requires no downtime. Patients typically see a reduction in lines and wrinkles anywhere from three to seven days after the injections, and the effects can last three months or more. Maintenance treatments may be required to continue the benefits of BOTOX®.

It is rare to experience side effects with BOTOX®. Minor swelling and bruising may result, but in the majority of cases this does not last long and is easily covered with makeup. Drooping eyelids may occur in rare cases but can be avoided by seeking the care of an experienced dermatologist.


A facelift is a cosmetic procedure that improves visible signs of aging on the face and neck. It is a solution for deep wrinkles, sagging skin, jowls and the appearance of a double chin. Facelift surgery involves the removal of excess skin and may include tightening of the tissues under the skin.

Before your facelift, you will consult with your cosmetic surgeon who will decide upon a treatment plan based on your goals for the surgery. This plan may include facial implants, fat transfer, soft tissue augmentation to recontour the facial structure, resurfacing techniques to improve skin’s tone and texture or an injection of a wrinkle filler.

Because a facelift is a cosmetic surgery, it requires anesthesia and is associated with some risk such as scarring, bleeding, clotting or infection and even death. The length of the procedure depends on the improvements being made. Facelift recovery times vary but are typically around two weeks. Immediately after surgery, there will be bruising and swelling, but as these effects subside you will begin to see visible improvements to your appearance. Stitches used in a facelift are normally removed seven to ten days after the surgery. Generally, a two week or more recovery period is necessary.

Which procedure is right for you?

Because BOTOX® is a temporary treatment, it is most effective in minimizing mild to moderate lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet. It also tends to be a less expensive, though less permanent, option to address signs of aging. BOTOX® is minimally invasive and has a short, simple recovery time, allowing you to quickly resume your regular activities. Most BOTOX® patients opt for maintenance treatments to continue to maximize the benefits of the injections.

A facelift is a more lasting, though less natural, solution to treat deep wrinkles and lines. It is also an effective way to firm sagging skin that cannot be helped with BOTOX®, especially around the neck area. However, like all surgical procedures a facelift comes with serious risks and a longer recovery period than BOTOX®. The best candidates for a facelift are in good health and have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery. Many individuals mistakenly believe that a facelift lasts forever. This isn’t true and there is clearly a limit to the results of a facelift.

As with any cosmetic procedure, you should consult with a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to determine which treatment is right for you. Visit Dr. Joel Schlessinger’s clinic site to find out more about both these and other treatments (although Dr. Schlessinger doesn’t perform facelifts!). If you have any questions about BOTOX® or a facelift, ask Dr. Joel Schlessinger in the comments.


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